Test all links, and test them a few times. Correct links are one of the most important things for hosting webinars (in addition to audio quality). It is essentially the venue for your event, so if you want high attendance rates, make that link accurate and easy to find.
To access the webinar, an attendee will need a unique link. This is often a token in Marketo that comes directly from the webinar platform (in my case, we use ON24). You want attendees to use their unique link, because that’s how you can track their attendee status (whether they attended or didn’t).
If you don’t have Marketo or you’re using a different platform for registration and promotion (like Splash), you can use the audience link from the webinar platform. Usually, there is a form that captures essential fields like name and email address so you can track attendees and consolidate status updates later.
Pro Tip: Don’t copy a link from your browser. Copy it directly from the webinar platform to avoid errors. Links can change when clicked and can cause an error.
Do a tech check. Familiarize your speakers with the platform, plan who will progress the slides, and check how the slides look and the audio sounds. Typically, webinar platforms look different to the presenter, so it can be a little disorienting. I’ve been logged in as a producer and a presenter, and while other attendees had issues with my sound, it sounded great to the other presenters on our lines. If necessary, you can always re-record audio as needed and splice it in.
Avoid custom fonts and animations in your slides. Slides are uploaded from PowerPoint into your webinar platform. If your brand uses a custom font that the platform doesn’t recognize, it can duplicate slides, mess up the formatting, remove images, etc. Upload the slides with enough time to check them in the preview mode of the console to be sure everything looks the way it should.
If all else fails, hit CTRL or Command + R. Working as the producer for webinars while speaking is a fun experience — if you revel in anxiety. There have been times where my sound quality was bad for people, but it was a bit too late for me to troubleshoot. I kept ON24’s Event Help Guide handy for tech support and used the find function in my browser to troubleshoot. Often, issues are localized to the wifi or browser bandwidth for that specific person. Don’t panic — most problems are solved by a simple refresh.
Templatize everything to make your webinars scalable. That is the case for anything that repeats, whether it’s an in-person event series, a webinar series, or a process outline for your marketing programs. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find a system that worked well, write it out, and save your process. Then, synchronize your tools, confirmations, and reminder emails for brand consistency.
Mute and/or turn off your camera if you’re not speaking. This is especially important as more people are working with kids and pets at home. If they do join in when you’re speaking, we’re all happy to see a surprise visitor. Just roll with it and let them say hello.
Remember that your attendees came to learn something valuable. I frequently sign up for webinars knowing I can’t make the time but want to watch it later. When you follow up with your attendees, be sure to share the link to the on-demand recording and include other helpful resources related to the content. Allow them to take their own journey with your brand and travel through the funnel gracefully or not at all.
Just like every other event or marketing program, it’s best simply to accept that something will go wrong at some point. Maybe not every time. But there’s often some little thing that doesn’t go exactly as planned. Take a deep breath and remember the content you are providing will be helpful to the audience. All will be forgiven.